Thursday, November 03, 2011

TMT: Thankfulness edition #1

1. What are you thankful for this week? 

I'm thankful for my people, who give me food at Breakfast time and at Dinner time, since I wouldn't be very good at getting it for myself.  I'm thankful that we could move to a new house and my people gave me and the other dogs our fields.  I'm thankful for the people my people bring to our house so I can practice my kissing skills.   I'm thankful our house is warm; our sheep are happy and fat; and our dog beds are fluffy and clean.  

2. How do you deal with a squeaker/shrieker/noisy dog? 

Put him on his back and tell him to shut up.   As the boss of the house, I find that works pretty well.  I don't do it except in the most egregious cases, though.  Works on cats, too--or at least *that* cat.

3. Barbara wants to know: what would you say is ONE skill or attribute needed to be successful? 

Delicate, deliberate, well aimed kissing.

4. Pippin (that me!!) wants to know: what are your favorite games? 

I like the game where my scribe and I walk down the driveway and then I stop (since she thinks I'm too dumb to stay out of the road--but that's part of the pretend I play with her) and she walks on to get the mail.  Then, when she comes back, I run, run, run back to the house.  I also like the game in the early morning where I slither onto the bed like a snake and give tiny, tiny kisses right on the scribe's mouth.  She likes it too.  No, really.

5. What are some of your favorite strategies for dealing with winter?

I grow more fur and that helps a lot (but then it has to get brushed out in the spring).  In the winter, I'm glad I'm not a slickie, smoothie like Rafe, Kyzer and Lad.  (But for their part, they don't have to deal with ice balls sticking to the fur on their feet since they don't have any fur there)

Here are some pics of how our little farm gets ready for winter (all taken by Tansy's scribe, who has an expert eye for a good photograph):

Thursday, October 06, 2011

TMT #12: Lottery!

It's TMT day again, friends, and thanks to Laura over at Crooks and Crazies for another week of thought-provoking prompts.

1. If you won the lottery (a big one... I'm talking stupid muchos cash) what would you do with the money?

I would buy another house--we could call it a dog house--that had many rooms to house lots of people.  I would go visit them every day and give them food and kisses--even if they didn't want the kisses, I would give kisses to them because they would be my people who I bought to give kisses to.  I would also buy 107 dog beds with lots of cushiness and thick bolsters--nicer even than the ones the scribes look at on the computer window. I would buy Rafe, Hamish, Kyzer and Lad some more pasture land so they could have some more sheep, and I would buy Tansy 13 soft toys that would be in a special room in the dog house that only she could go in so that only she could play with them and they wouldn't get destuffed by some other dog (Rafe, we aren't looking at you. Nope).  I would buy Renzo some videos so he could have lots of video nights with our scribes. 

I would donate the rest to the place we got Tansy, cause they could sure use it.  And some to RDM at That'll Do Border Collie Rescue, too, because she helps other dogs like us.

2. After winning the lottery would you work a day job? If so, what would you do?

Definitely not.  I don't work a day job now.

3. Do you have any auxiliary dogs? Auxiliary dogs are dogs that are not essential to your main purpose (usually tiny, but not always). If you don't have an auxiliary dog what might you choose?

We have Renzo.  He's not tiny, but he has got some terrier in him and those are often auxiliary dogs.  He is first dog, so really, we Border Collies are kind of his auxiliaries.  

4. Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe (or other recipe) you can share?

We don't make this in a crockpot, but it's pretty good:

Quick Canine Hash
1 cup millet (or you can use bulghur or couscous if your scribes can safely handle wheat products.  One of our scribes has celiac disease, so we don't have wheat at our house)
1 cup ground meat (any meat will do; we like hamburger)
1 1/2 tsp bonemeal
1 tblsp nutritional yeast

Cook the grain, add the meat to the hot grain, stir in the other stuff.  You can add some cooked vegetables and fruit, esp. melon or banana.   Kyzer would like to mention that he's not really a fan of banana.

Serve with a nice Pinot Grigio (for scribes only)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

TMT: About me

Friends, we missed last week because there was an accident at the farm where Lad was born and my scribe got kind of caught up in it - one person broke a leg being thrown from a horse, but everyone is recovering now, Thank DoG.  Anyway, I couldn't really blame my scribe for being preoccupied and then of course she had to catch up on the work she hadn't done that day....Here we are today, though.

1. What movie do you love but are too embarrassed to admit you love it?

I know the truth is that pigs can't do that--but I still get all teary eyed watching that little pig work so hard.  "That'll do, Pig."

2. Ann wants to know: How far do you drive/travel to attend trials, clinics, lessons? How far is too far?

We travel lots of distances.  I don't travel with the scribes and trial dogs much because of my important work keeping Renzo company and kissing the nice lady who comes to let us out.  The people travel about an hour to go to lessons a couple of times a week.  They've traveled about 8 hours for clinics, trials, etc. 

Once one of the trial dogs convinces them to move into Open, they might travel a little further.  We don't have a rolling house yet so it's kind of a hubbub getting us all into a hotel room.  

My scribe, Hamish and Kyzer traveled 3600 miles to visit the Mean Man from Alberta last fall.  They stayed there for a while and had lots of adventures. They learned some things, too.  Including about mountain snowstorms.  And praire snowstorms.  And snowstorms caused by lake effect snow.  (It might have been just a tad late in the year for that kind of travel.  But, the scribe didn't consult me)

3. What is your theme song (circa Ally McBeal)?

"You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel"

--Carol King

"I'm a Bitch; I'm a Lover
I'm a child; I'm a Mother
I'm a sinner; I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell; I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
you know you wouldn't want it any other way"

--Meredith Brooks  (But, I'm most certainly not a "Mother")

4. Laura S wants to know: If you had to choose a new dog activity, one that you had never done before, what would you choose? 

I think I would look smashing at a Canine Freestyle Dance competition

5. What would your dog choose (or scribe, if you're Pippin--hey, that's me!!)?

My scribe thinks it would be kind of neat to learn to send a terrier to ground (we don't know how to tell her that Renzo is the only terrier who will ever live at our house) 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to TMT and it's week #9

We missed last week despite my every attempt to get the scribe going.  The terrible time of work has come for my scribe, but she has promised to try better to remember what's actually important, like being my scribe and throwing me a ball.  She'll need much reinforcement and occasional correction I think.  

1.    If you're not at the 2011 Sheepdog finals this weekend what are you planning to do?
 I'll be spending the week-end snuffling around in the tall grass, helping my scribe pick up the mail and do gardening chores, nap.  I'll have my breakfast at the Breakfast Time and my dinner at the Dinner Time.  I think my scribe rather than Tansy's scribe will be in charge of meals this week-end since I heard that Tansy's scribe might be going visiting.  My scribe isn't as skilled, but we don't starve.

My scribe will be working and watching the finals (If I were a betting kind of dog [and I most certainly am not] then I'd say that she'll keep telling herself to work but that she'll mostly be watching the finals)

2. One item you NEVER walk onto the trial field (any trial field, or training class will suffice) without?

Hmm, since I don't trial or train for things much anymore, not sure, but I guess the one thing would be my collar.

When the scribes and the trial dogs go to trials, my important job is to stay home and keep Renzo company and give the nice lady who comes to let us out kisses (see below).  Kyzer and Hamish tell me that the scribe takes her stick and the running order, which she checks obsessively and still brings them out way too early because she's got this weird time thing.  But, really, it's best not to go there so early in the morning.  I'll just say the time disease is a real challenge for all of us and leave it at that. 

3. Katy wants to know if you have a pre-run ritual that you observe?

I like a good nap and a cookie.

4. How old were you when you had your first real kiss?

Oh, probably when I was a a few days old or so.  I've been kissing for a long time.  It's kind of my specialty and I'm very good at it.

5. Bonnie wants to know what you do for yard mud control during the winter?

In the winter, our yard is frozen solid so we don't have to worry about mud.  We used to have mud at other times of year at our old house where the soil was clay and the grass was none.  Then, the scribes would spread large quantities of wood chips and when those broke down, they would spread pine shavings from the TSC store.  I think all that roughage probably really improved the soil, but we don't know that for certain since we left it behind. At our new house, the soil is sand and the grass is plentiful, so we don't really worry about mud.  Wet feet, yes, but mud, no.  We enjoy bringing the sand into the house and onto the scribes' bed so that they can enjoy it, too.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tell me, please

Here we are again, coming in late and just under the wire.  And I totally had to beg the scribe.

1. What five things can't you live without?  (I think asking what five things I could live without would be much more appropriate and overall easier, but I'll do my best)

1.  People who appreciate gentle kisses
2.  The occasional kitty food snack
3.  Balls
4.  My goofy little brother Hamish
5.  Evening cookies (peanut butter 'n' blueberryz Zukes)

2. How do you transport your dogs? This question suggested by several peeps, including Mara
Well, the dogs in our household are transported in the Rolling Living Room.  It looks like this

The RLR can house five dogs and three kitty carriers.  If more of us need to go, then we use the auxiliary commuter car, a small Honda Fit that can hold up to three of us, but only one crate, so it's DANGER, DANGER, DANGER.  We ride in wire crates from Kennel-Aire that our people picked because the wire is close together.  It's strapped in with straps from the hardware store called ACE and also these stretchy things with hooks on the end.  One of the crates also usually has our water carrier strapped to it so it doesn't tip over and spill.

3. What role does obedience play in your training or running of your dog(s)? 
I insist that my dogs be very obedient to me.  My scribe was taught that you don't have to be in control all the time but you have to be able to get it (and give it up) and that's the principle she tries to work with.  I think that's silly. 

4. At what point do you start putting commands on your dogs? 
I put commands on my dogs immediately (and see above in terms of expectiations for compliance).  Rafe received his first command to back off on the first day he arrived.  Fox, the evil cat, also has a "Scram" command that he mostly obeys, but in a haughty, feline sort of way.  I have several different "play" commands that I use for Hamish, Lad, Kyzer and Rafe.  Tansy needs no commands from me and I none from her.  I also put commands on the people like "Food", "Let me Out", "Let me In", "Throw this", "Throw this Again", "Throw this Higher", "Move over, You're Hogging the Bed" (but only Tansy's scribe listens to this one), and "Keep that Brush Away from ME."  They haven't really learned that last one very well--I don't think I had them on the right reinforcement schedule, so, my bad.

5. Do you talk to stra
ngers in elevators? Question posted by Laura #1 
Talk, not so much.  Kiss, definitely (but I've only been in an elevator a handful of times).  Hamish and Kyzer rode in several when they took a long trip last fall.  They talked loudly to everyone in the elevator, which meant the person mostly decided to take the stairs.

Oh and who knew this was up, but these appeared in our pasture last week-end.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's TMT!!

My scribe is really coming in under the wire today. Hope the Carson's Crazies will still let us play....

Here are this week's questions:

1. How do you teach recalls to your dogs?
I don't teach recalls to my dogs. I prefer them to keep their distance from me. When I want them to come to me, I just run the other way and act like I'm doing something fun. But, really, I don't do that very often. They don't really leave me be enough; however, so I frequently have to correct them for coming to me.

The people taught recalls in different ways. With me and Renzo, they were the most dedicated to actually training it and they played games and hid in the house and hid at the park and called us back and forth between them--that kind of thing. With the rest of them, I guess they just kind of used Renzo and me as the lures. They also showed us that we often get treats when we come. We Border Collies all pretty much come when we're called (we don't always lie down when we're told, though and my goofy little brother Hamish sometimes decides against that'll doing when he's driving sheep somewhere. You can hardly blame the guy, though the people do.)

Renzo remains a hobo at heart though and, while he'll come pretty well when contained, if completely loose, he takes flight.

2. What is your favorite Restaurant or type of food? Clearly I have food on the brain much of the time.

I used to prefer any food that was available on the counter but then a few years ago, I got really turned on to kitty food. We had this old cat, Inji, who ate on the side table and that was great. Since she was old and weak, she was easy to push aside. The counters at our new house are a lot wider, so it's harder to get my treats. Now, my favorite food is sardines, which we get on Wednesday nights.

3. What is your favorite interest outside of dogs/livestock/sports?

Well, I think I've mentioned that I like to play fetch (but only when the other dogs don't come to me and get in my way) and I like to visit with people and give kisses (funny, the visitors don't usually seem to appreciate my gentle, delicate, hardly wet at all style). I don't like any sports really. That's why my people ended up going to sheep. I also like to lay on the couch and rub my face after dinner.

The people read. And read. And read. I guess they like that. At least they let us sit with them when they do it.

4. Describe your path from where you started out to where you are now! (For example, how did you get from Novice to Open? How long did it take? Train dogs? Buy dogs? I'll take answers for any sort of discipline, or even how did you go from wild dog that didn't listen to well behaved dog - interpret this however you like.) This question was suggested by Pippin (yes, that'd be ME!)

I started training the people in 2004 when they brought me home. I worked hard to teach them to give me cookies and stuff like that. Before all the other dogs came, my scribe taught me lots and lots of tricks. I can whisper and play dead and shake with both left and right. I know how to bring useful objects on command and to turn on the light. I can shut doors. That was fun stuff to learn. My person tried to train me to discriminate among different toys like those Border Collies, Rico and Chaser, but she was not up to the job. Once the other dogs started to come and the people got interested in stockwork, I got new jobs. I'm the second in command (or third if you count the people as two instead of as a unit--but we don't usually do that) and I take that pretty seriously.

The people started learning to do stock stuff in spring 2006, but they didn't really have the dogs for being serious with it and they wanted to be more serious. Hamish was pretty good, but he was only one dog and they needed at least two. Tansy was fun, but had some baggage. So, in summer 2006, they added Rafe as a 7 mos old and then in December of that same year, they got Kyzer as a puppy. So, there they were with three young, green dogs to work (plus Tansy) and green as grass themselves. I shook my head....but they got good advice from their training friends and slowly learned.

My brother Hamish went to his first trial in 2007. (N.B. If I were that kind of braggart, I might add that I came in first in the second Novice/Novice trial at the Bluegrass in 2008. Just in case you're wondering about me. H.B. Moy.) My scribe sent Kyzer to see a man about a bridge in Alberta all winter in 2009. They all moved into Pro-Novice in 2010 and are now at Ranch, but they haven't been trialling much lately. Spending more time and effort on learning. My scribe is thinking that she is going to move into Open with Kyzer next year. Kyzer claims he's ready to go now, but she's holding him back.

Tansy's scribe got Laddie last September and he's looking pretty fine. He's never written a blog post, though--maybe next week.

5. Is there a dog that you raised that, if you knew then what you know now, you would have raised them differently? Question posed by Jodi.

My people would have handled things differently with Rafe and Hamish. See, they are silly and don't get along at all, so one or the other of them has to be in the crate all the time. The people would have done more to intervene in their interactions if they'd understood where things were headed. No telling if that would have made a difference. They would have also done more to socialize Kyzer and build his confidence around people and other dogs, especially other dogs. Then he might not bark at those dangerous dogs in the mirror so much. We all find that annoying.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tell Me Thursday (Guest Blog)

Rafe here.

Miss Pippin said I could answer those questions from that gal at Carson's Crazies. Okay!

1. Who is your newest dog? Where is he/she from, and why did you choose this particular dog/breeding?

Well, newest pup is Lad. Nice fellow, real fast. Spotted him at the big field we work every week or so. Smart handler there, she has some good challenges for me. So, we saw she had a tri-color smoothie like me, guess my folks knew that was a good look. Thought he'd grow out of all that white, lord he glows in the dark.

2. What traits drew you to this dog or breeding?

Not real sure, guess it's where he's from. Local boy, like me. Tells me his ma and pa are good workers, ma even works cattle. My handler said she likes to learn from different style pups, and trusts that smart handler about the kind of pup to bring into the flock.

Here's a photo of the Lad, looks good:

3. What's on your feet right now?

Nothing!! Lord. Got a bit of a split nail, hear talk of "vet wrap". Never like that stuff.

4. What are you reading right now?

Sheep. Well, if they were here. Read the people, cats, other pups.

5. What upcoming trials are you looking forward to? If you don't trial dogs I'll take whatever activity that you're looking forward to.

Hear talk of Kentucky and Ohio when the sun sets early. Hear we're getting our own sheep too. Right now, looking forward to going outside.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tell Me Thursday

Thanks to Laura over at Crooks and Crazies, my scribe is staying on task with my blog. Woot!! I will be thinking of a nice present to send Laura as thanks for getting my scribe going two weeks in a row.

Here are this week's questions:

1) In sheepdog training (or let's call it *any* type of training), how do you keep from taking yourself, your person, your lack of progress too seriously? posed by Ann

My person frequently suggests that I, and my packmates, should take her more seriously. Kyzer and Hamish listen to that nonsense, but they are suck-ups.

I don't really take *myself* seriously, but I do take very seriously my right to be on the bed without other dogs (Rafe, I'm speaking of you) getting in my space.

"Progress" requires thinking about the past and projecting into the future. As a dog, I don't think like that. I just pay attention to what I'm doing right now. Which at the moment is this

My scribe takes herself too seriously frequently. She should try and be more like me and she'd find that progress is only in the eye of the beholder. (We also try and remind the scribe that she came to stockdog training with no horse or other livestock experience and about a year's experience with dogs. The curve has been, let's just say, a little steep, and remembering that helps her not take it all too seriously.)

2) How many crates do you have? For reals

I used to have a crate at my old house that was mine, all mine. I also had a crate in the car that was mine, all mine. Those days have passed, though and I have no crates to call my own. There are some crates in our house, though. Each of our kitties has a crate (3), there are soft-sided crates that the people take on long trips (2), there are the crates in the basement in case of a tornado (5), there are crates in the rolling living room (4 or 5, depending on whether Lad is going), there are crates for dogs who can't be trusted unsupervised (3), there are the puppy crates for, you know, any puppies (2) and there may be another couple hiding here or there, so that makes 20+. Yikes. Thanks for pointing that out. On the other hand, sounds like we're in good company.

Here's me using the crate in an unconventional way

3) How do you keep your people in shape?

We run them around the yard, insisting they throw things for us. Kyzer always makes it easy on them by bringing the stuff back to them, but the rest of us make them walk a little ways. We take them on off-leash walks around our property and I take my scribe on the special task of going to the mailbox (about 1/4 mile). I try to get her to run, but she usually declines. We go on hikes with them sometimes, too, but we don't really trust them to be off leash around other people.

4) Who is your favorite movie/tv star eye candy at the moment?

I find several of the movie stars in this clip pretty easy on the eyes

5) What is your livestock situation? Have your own? Borrow? Herd the cats? (You can substitute other equipment for livestock if you don't work stock with your dogs)

We moved to a new place in December so that we could have some livestock. We have 15 sheep waiting for their pasture to be fenced and somewhere there are some chicks, who are a twinkle in their momma's eye, who will come live with us next spring. For now, though, some of us go and visit Laddie's parents' farm and Kyzer's mom's farm. Some of us (me and Renzo) keep the home fires burning while that happens. We are all curious to see how Renzo will respond to our sheep and chickens. That should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tell Me Thursday

Laura over at Crooks and Crazies has this Thursday game going and I thought it'd be fun to play.

(1) How did you get into border collies (or whatever your dogs of choice are)? What started it all?
I got into Border Collies when I was born as one in Nov. 2003. Here's what I looked like when the people brought me home on Dec. 31.

The people got into Border Collies because they were playing flyball with the mutt, Renzo
In his case, that meant learning to bark less (which, if you know anything about flyball, tells you something about how much he barked). The people had been avowed Cat People but then something happened to them one day and they brought home Renzo. He was insane. Srsly. So they found flyball to channel his insanity. They saw lots of Border Collies there. They liked them but had heard that Border Collies are insane and they couldn't fathom having two insane dogs. Their flyball peeps convinced them otherwise, so they got me. Then, about 18 mos later, they got my BFF Tansy from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue.
She took them to the next level of the Border Collie vortex. Several more of us followed her, and she made the people buy us a little farm and our sheep are just waiting for our fence to be finished before they'll join us, too.

(2) How many dogs do you have? All dog math variations accepted.

Well,Tansy and I jointly own the boys, so I guess technically, I co-own five.

(3) What do you do for a day job?
I make sure the people's couch doesn't fall apart while they are gone or that the bathroom floor doesn't suddenly get hot for some reason. Don't smirk, it could happen. The people work in a city about 30 minutes from our farm. My scribe is a linguist. Tansy's scribe is a visual resources specialist. I have no idea what they do all day. My scribe complains more than Tansy's.

(4) What questions would you like to answer (or ask)?
My scribe has always been impressed with how quickly you moved into Open and would like to know if there is a magic charm (We've told her that the magic charm is called "talent," but she holds out hope that there might be something else, too)

(5) What was for dinner last night?
Kibble with yogurt, Salmon oil and melon. (ETA: I actually forgot what we had for dinner last night. See comments for an accurate account.)My scribe missed dinner because she was on a plane at dinner time and was too cheap to purchase the delicacies on offer. Don't worry, she didn't faint dead away from lack of food or anything.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Peep on the way home

One of our people has been gone for a month (cavorting with some pups in Colorado).

We hear she's on the way back. About time.

Some of us are watching for her!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Lying around

It's been, like, literally, years since I've been able to rouse the one with the thumbs into posting on my own blog. Seriously, if you were to go back and look for the last post by *me*, you'd be looking in 2008.

Oh well, new times, new promises.

We've been doing lots of things. We lost a member of the pack (old kitty, Inji). We added some new members to our pack--a couple of cats (Lars and Milo) and a young pup, Lad. The biggest thing is we moved. We moved to a lovely place outside of town where we all have a lot of space to run. My BFF Tansy showed you some pictures when she resurrected the blog a while ago.

Still, some things don't change. Even though the majority of us are Border Collies, we all still spend a lot of time just lying around.

Here's Fox, the dastardly cat, looking all picturesque.

Here's one of the new boys, Milo, in a unique spot in a window.

Kyzer with only a stone for a pillow.

My handsome little brother

And me, glorious me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Investigations (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

One of the Delights of living in the Country is the Wealth and Variety of Smells. And Objects. I believe this Delight is understood by Everydog. Therefore I will not Describe; you will simply Know. Here is Pippin, enjoying a Smell:

She was soon joined by Rafe:



Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Fields! (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!

I am Delighted to return to barking here! Many Suns and Snows have passed since we have moved to the Country. Much Work, Tales to Tell. We love our new Space. And I believe It loves Us, it has become more Beautiful since our Arrival. Here I present a photograph of my First Visit, before the Snow:

And you saw how Beautiful it is now, in the Photograph on Minimal Monday?


Monday, June 13, 2011

Minimal Monday (Guest Blog)

Greetings, Gentlepups!